Day 75/76: SAN FRAN!!

Last two days of riding. Since I will not have access to a computer after tonight I thought I would do the final post all in one. Today’s ride was harder than expected and there were many uphill climbs and winding downhills, totaling 4,000 uphill and 3,500 downhill. We finally got out got out of the valley and had pleasant 70 degree weather today. We passed through part of Napa Valley on our ride and saw miles of vineyards. There was an ultimate rule number 1 uphill climb at the final stretch on Cherry road and every group decided to challenge themselves to the 18% grade uphill instead of the reroute…Although not everyone was able to make up all the way up (me).

This evening we took our final shuttle to showers at a local pool as a team and managed to fit 26 of us in Uncle Rico (the van).

Tomorrow is our last day of I4k and I expect it to be very emotional but exciting. We have built up the image of us crossing the Golden Gate bridge a lot and we have planned who we will be riding with on the last day for a while. It feels very surreal that we are finally accomplishing our ultimate goal and we will officially be able to call ourselves cross country cyclists.

This summer has been a whirlwind to say the least! It has been the most challenging yet rewarding period in my whole 22 years of life. Although these days have been extremely tough, it has taught me how to push myself, while at the same time knowing my limits and allowing myself to take a break when I need one. It has forced me to be patient while also giving me a lesson in group dynamics and learning how to put others before myself. It’s hard to put in words exactly how impactful this summer has been for me and I don’t think I will fully grasp its gravity until I am actually done with this trip but overall I can say that it was more fun than hardship and my 26 teammates are the reason for that, I encountered more good kind generous people than mean spirited drivers flipping us off, and this country is damn beautiful and we didn’t even scratch the surface.

To recap the summer, I thought I would a give a highlight reel in the form of some of our favorite inside jokes. Enjoy


  1. Mackenzie showing up to Champaign instead of Union Station
  2. Leaving Neeca at the DeBlasio campaign
  3. “Ehhhhh” (with tongue out) -Julissa
  4. “You’re sagging” – Dan
  5. “Is the van unlocked” “Where are the van keys”
  6. Every city is the Big Apple
  7. TBV- Total Bone Volume
  8. Is a hot dog a sandwich?
  9. David being extra

10.  Soy Boys

11.  Adding ‘boy’ to the end of as many words as possible

12.  Calling out cues while not riding

13.  Debating which utensil is the best for the PBJ

14.  Someone is always farting

15.  Roasting people always (mostly Arturo)

16.  “Mmmm”, “Ahhhmazing”, “Disasterrrr” – Kevin

17.  “It’s happening”!

18.  “Ah, my nickname in high school”

19.  “Pretty cool” – Tyler

20.  “Right?” – Zach

21.  Maryland is now Delaware 2

22.  Nodus not backing down from any challenge

23.  Somehow making everything a challenge

24.  Lil T storm

25.  Operation T storm

26.  Roasting the boys

27.  Analisa’s rendition of 6 foot 7 foot

28.  Communal showers

29.  Dan being vegan

30.  David saying “uhhhh” before anything

31.  “Dirtiest thing you would do for a Gatorade”

32.  “I gotta question for ya”- Dan and Kevin

33.  Boom Boom eating absolutely anything

34.  Mason having terrible taste in music

35.  Mason’s rollout song

36.  “Borked”

37.  Team rankings, the van driver is the supreme leader and the mechanic is the lowliest

38.  Hot Takes

39.  Analisa’s shirt is always unzipped

40.  The snoring tent

41.  The cuddle puddle

42.  The shaggy dog story

43.  “Uhhh mechanic, my bikes making a weird noise” *walk away

44.  Slow boy

45.  “I’m the fastest girl on the team” –Alia

46.  Dylan being the most attractive boy on the team

47.  Kevin’s bleached eyebrows

48.  “Pretty straightforward today”

49.  Tyler is being grumpy

50.  “Take your time” –Nick Su

51.  Lil T is Pierre Tont

52.  “What a great day” – Mack

53.  Neeca dropping the weapon

54.  Me winning the hunger games

55.  Chef Austin

56.  Quitting the team

57.  Spongebob references

58.  Tina Su thinking farting is hilarious

59.  Pixar movie rankings splitting the team

60.  Hating Rapid City

61.  Quarter mile condurum

62.  “Tunac Tunac”

63.  “Ride faster” – Tyler

64.  “My dad has a gun”

65.  David never being at the circle on time

Thanks for being awesome 2017. Even though we were last place when it came to timelieness, you’re all number 1 in my heart.

Thanks for keeping up with us all summer.

Stay golden San Francisco.



Day 74: Hotter Than…

Today I dedicated the ride to Matt Dsouza, a close mentee of my fathers who was his favorite caddy for a number of years. Matt graduated from U of I in 2013 and received his Master’s of Accounting in 2014. He was diagnosed with leukemia a while back and will be undergoing trial treatments at the University of Chicago.

Today was some of the most brutal heat we encountered. Even though we had another 4:45 wakeup, we could not avoid the blazing heat that reached over 100 degrees by 11 AM on the 86 mile day. During the last 20 miles stretch the ride leaders made the call that it was unsafe to ride uphill in the extreme heat and we shuttled groups the rest of the way. Since Lower Lakes underwent a fire in 2016 that burned the church, the place we are staying in in is a 40 by 60-foot facility with all of our bikes, backpacks, and van supplies. Not to mention all 27 of us are sharing a single bathroom. With no AC and all the bodies in one room it became very sweaty ordeal.

Although it had looked like we would never actually have it, at the last minute we decided that we would have prom! Everyone changed into their thrift store bought outfits and took prom pictures courtesy of Mason in front of a sheet. Nick Su, David, Mack, and Dan serenaded us with some choice karaoke songs, and we had a dance circle where Lil T showed off some moves. To close out the night we played Closing Time, and had a circle group up to cherish one of our last nights together.

The worst is officially behind us!



Day 73: Orlandia

Today Christina Su dedicated the ride to a group she ate dinner with last night, five of whom were cancer survivors.

This morning we had a mostly successful departure as we started to roll out at around 6:30 after our 4:45 wake up along with breakfast served to us by the church community members. Although it was another hot day, we missed the worst of the heat as we pushed the rest stops to mile 28 and 53. It seemed like the terrain today was something that you would expect to see an actual desert, with the cacti and yellow fields. 68 miles felt very easy and since we had barely any climbing the day was not extremely challenging.

We arrived at yet another Methodist Church at around 1:00 and headed over to the local pool that had a Sandlot feel to it with painted blue walls and tall diving boards. We got major Cali vibes from the people there as we noticed that every single lifeguard was bleach blonde. When 25 of us rolled up at the pool, we got asked if we were a swim team. An inflatable obstacle course at the pool was the perfect place for races, and some of the little kids there even challenged us to a competition. Orland had a very small town feel to it and the lifeguards were calling out some of the little kids by name when they were messing around.

We have begun to notice that Methodist churches are the ones that usually provide us with potluck dinners and for dinner we were treated to roast beef, rice, rolls, and a plethora of salads. Pretty much all of us helped ourselves to seconds…or fourths (Mackenzie).

Although i4prom was supposed to take place tonight, since we decided to have another early wake up tomorrow we postponed it. Since we are staying at a very tiny church tomorrow it is not looking like the dance will actually take place. Stay tuned.

We are all coming to the realization that we only have three more days of riding and it is STRANGE. In a way it seems like this new lifestyle that we have adopted will go on forever. Sleeping in a normal bed will be weird.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a hard day. Probably the hardest we have left.




Day 72: Redding You Dog

Mackenzie dedicated the ride today per request of his uncle to his Aunt Irene Arciszewiski, who died of melanoma.

Mount Shasta to Redding California. Today was something else lemme tell ya. Although we knew ahead of time that the temperatures would be above 100 degrees, per team vote last night, we elected to keep wake up at a normal 5:45 instead of 4:45 this morning to beat the heat. I regretted being on the 5:45 team at right around 11:00 AM.

Around mile 10 we had to be shuttled two miles because a semi truck had flipped over. It was chilling to pass by the overturned van and see the 40 foot vehicle on its side.  After that two of my group members, Logan and Neeca, had to be picked up by the van because both of their tires got annihilated by an unknown thing. We had lunch at a McDonald’s, where we were all prepared with the downloaded McDonalds app for deals. After that the last 8 miles of the day were brutal. Even on the last downhill of the day, the heat hitting our faces felt like, in the words of Zach, “a hairdryer”, instead of a cool breeze. We pretty much ran inside the United Methodist Church for the air conditioning when we arrived. Overall Interstate 5 was terrible and I think I’ll have nightmares about it.

UMC has been a stayover for our team for the past five years, and for good reason. While eating the potluck dinner of enchiladas, beans, watermelon salad, and other luxuries, we were able to speak with some exceedingly friendly and interesting church members. One person in particular that stood out to me was Mabel, the kind of 82 woman who everyone in the community knows. With dyed red hair that “makes everyone remember her” Maybel is a former Korean War marine veteran that was quick to make a joke, offer us advice like “I have a lot of friends, everyone I like I call my friend, even if they don’t like me back”, or poke fun at the other church members like referring to Peggy, the Director of Ministry, as the “the caption”.  She was very entertaining and made us wish that we could have the same level of pizzazz as her when were that age.

From the dinner conversation I also learned that Northern California and lower Oregon have a movement to succeed and form the state of Jefferson. It doesn’t seem like the proposed new state will actually come into existence, but it is quite interesting if you are curious:

Yet another day that started out comically hard and ended with a feeling of fulfillment.

Eyes on the prize.



Day 71: Mount Shasta

Today Mack dedicated the ride to a family friend of his, Hayden, who at only the young age of 23 is going through chemo treatments for a rare form of brain cancer.

There were mixed reviews on today’s ride. With views of beautiful snowcapped Mount Shasta, the second tallest mountain and potentially active volcano in the US, and our first glimpse into California scenery. It’s weird to think that we have gotten used to seeing mountains as opposed to cornfields.

Wikipedia information about Shasta: “There are seven named glaciers on Mount Shasta, with the four largest (WhitneyBolamHotlum, and Wintun) radiating down from high on the main summit cone to below 10,000 ft (3,000 m) primarily on the north and east sides.”

We crossed our last state border today and took our very first team picture together (haha not). However, California is noticeably hotter than Oregon and we really began to feel the heat during the last 10 miles of climbing

The Mt. Shasta descent was something that was talked about in ride meetings, but turned out to be a bit disappointing. With headwinds, we really did not get to experience the full extent of the 6 miles of downhill that we had anticipated so much.

The scenery in California is actually quite different than Oregon, and only 5 miles into today’s ride we began to spot tall Redwood trees along the side of the road.  Although Mount Shasta, the town where we are staying in tonight is a bit small, it has gorgeous scenery surrounded by forest and views of the mountain top.

At this point in the ride every rider is experiencing soreness and we don’t really know what it feels like to not have a sore behind. We are all looking forward to a break from biking while simultaneously dreading being separated

Don’t let me down California



Day 70: I4Khristmas

Rest day in Klamath Falls! Many of us started the morning with the I4klassic of the Daily Bagel, a local breakfast joint that serves, you guessed it, bagels. They were the best we have had so far, sorry Missoula. Luckily for us the Yeti’s Lair is conveniently located right near the main street and we were able to make a lot of stops today including: the farmers market, some thrift shopping for last minute Christmas gifts, the riverfront park, and the frozen yogurt shop. Once again Mike and his wife spoiled us with a pasta and salad dinner on the sidewalk outside the gym.

This week we will be graced with a celebrity driver, I4k’s very own, Jeff Bogue. Where does this leave van driver rankings, the world may never know.

After dinner we had our last (of about 3) team meetings where we talked end of ride logistics and sadly began to accept that this trip will actually end. After dinner we exchanged Christmas gifts around a computer generated fire and Christmas music courtesy of self-appointed DJ, Mason. Some notable gifts included *possible * anal beads, a used glove, an old hat, a pinecone, a whistle, and a jacket sanitized with a ton of Lysol. After the gifts David finally popped the question (prom) to Madeline with a drawn out magic trick involving making toilet paper disappear into a cell phone. He got a standing ovation by the rest of the team as he finished.

So many mixed emotions about the final stretch of the trip. Slightly worried about California’s terrain where in the words of Kevin “everything wants to kill you”.

David’s always right.